Chapter 2
Removing Barriers
in the Workplace
One of the most rewarding things we can do in life is a “good day’s work.
While this may sound corny, some of us have had the opportunity to see
firsthand how happy people look when they leave the job after a productive
day, when everything has gone right. It gets right back to Deming’s Point
12: People want to take pride in their work. The problem is that the barriers
they have to deal with each day can make that impossible.
So, let us start with the easiest potential barrier first: the workplace. We
said in Point 1 of our Model Vision that we wanted ours to be clean, well lit,
properly ventilated, and free of safety hazards. Let us talk about each of them.
A clean workplace is essential for a number of reasons.
It reduces the chances of product contamination.
There will be fewer mistakes from using the wrong tools and materials.
The equipment will run more reliably.
It conveys the message that the company has high standards for itself
and its employees.
It is safer to work in a clean, uncluttered environment.
It instills pride in the employees.
It is healthier.
If you allow customers to visit your plant, they will like what they see.
You may be able to negotiate lower insurance rates.
Feel free to add to the list, but these will do for starters.
14 ◾  Removing the Barriers to Efcient Manufacturing
Order and Cleanliness
Order and cleanliness are the necessary starting point for everything that fol-
lows, so it is imperative to set the tone for how you plan to conduct business.
Understand that this new way of operating will require dedication and commit-
ment by you. Order and cleanliness require daily attention if you are to main-
tain your standards, which must be done by patient coaching—not complaining.
If your organization did not place much emphasis on housekeeping in
the past, then the new standards must be presented at crew meetings so that
everyone clearly understands the new expectations. Each person should be
given a printed handout for reference. Because many housekeeping problems
are beyond the capability of the workers to correct, it is important to encour-
age team members to point out housekeeping items that need management’s
involvement. Of course, once they do that, management must deliver and not
just pay lip service or this becomes another meaningless exercise.
After the new housekeeping standards have been communicated, man-
agers must walk their departments with area supervisors. Action lists must
be generated and funds and resources assigned to upgrade the facilities and
equipment. This is not a one-shot activity. The list must be managed on
an ongoing basis to ensure improvement. Anything less and this becomes
another program of the month.
Progress must be communicated in monthly reports to the organiza-
tion and top management. You will also need to post progress reports on
employee bulletin boards; it forces you either to make progress or to look
stupid. Also, once a month, top management must make announced, walk-
ing inspections of selected areas to show employees that they are involved
and supportive. Praise for progress is essential.
Getting Started
In general, anything ugly should be addressed. Here is a list of obvious
things to get you started.
Floors: These should be clean and free of dust and debris.
Walls: Walls should be clean and painted a light color, preferably white.
Lighting: Increased lighting has been shown in past studies to improve
morale and productivity, and it allows people to see defects more easily.
Also, keeping your building relamped sends a clear message that you

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